In addition to having been engaged in a busy professional life practicing and teaching law, Olin’s principal avocation was the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association (MPPDA). Olin founded the organization in 1894 and served as its president until 1909. In this role he promoted park development in
John and Helen Olin selected Ferry & Clas of
The Olin House has been recognized as a contributing element within the University Heights Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The
English Tudor Revival references from the exterior are reintroduced in the scale, finish and detailing of the first floor living room, which the Olins furnished with some Arts and Crafts pieces. The large living room is thirty-two by seventeen feet, exclusive of its two alcoves; the ceilings are at thirteen feet and the walls are wainscoted with quarter sawn white oak to a height of 8½ feet. The oak woodwork was stained a dark shade, making it similar in color to the walnut trim in the dining room. The floor is constructed of eight-inch quarter sawn white oak veneer, approximately an 1/8th inch thick, edged with thin strips of black walnut. Screws used to secure the boards were counter sunk and a small piece of wood used to conceal the screw. The oak boards were fastened together with glue to prevent shrinking. Boards that are broader than those used for flooring elsewhere in the residence were purposefully selected to be in “keeping with the size or dimensions of the room.” The space was illuminated with a large and ornate chandelier that was centrally placed and sconces were situated on walls throughout the space, including on either side of the fireplace.
(Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)